Act on the Personal Finance Advice You Get: Make Reading Worthwhile

by Thursday Bram · 6 comments

Reading personal finance blogs is an entertaining pastime for many people. There are interesting stories, new tips and tricks and plenty to think about. But, compared to the number of readers that are out there, there just aren’t that many people that go out and implement the advice they get. They read post after post, even buy ebooks and courses, and never put any of it into practice.

For most of us, there has to be a reason for us to take action on the advice we get. If there isn’t a pressing reason, we’ll put it off indefinitely. I’ve faced that problem myself more than once: I even write about personal finance on a regular basis and still don’t manage to put a lot of the advice that I’ve read into practice.

Sorting Through Everything You Hear

Part of the problem is sheer quantity. If you read more than a few blogs or follow a few personal finance gurus, thousands of words of advice may cross your computer screen every day. Much of it may conflict with what you’ve heard, as well — there is no one true way when it comes to improving your financial situation.

It’s worst when you’re already in a decent enough position. The advice available for someone facing some financial problems tend to fall along the lines of eliminate debt and build up savings, although there’s a lot of conflicting suggestions on how to do just that. When you’re looking at improving an already good situation, though, you can hear about hundreds of differing strategies too, which make us hesitate to act.

It’s crucial to sort through what you read and hear if you want to be able to act on all that financial advice you’re coming across. In order to deal with differing suggestions, it’s useful to have some sort of framework to run all of that information through, to see how well it applies to you. The framework doesn’t have to be particularly complex — I just consider my financial goals and plans a few years out and take a look at whether a given piece of advice will help me get there any faster.

Stick to it

Sticking to Your Path

A big danger with having so much information is that you can constantly be presented with new ideas that would require you to change course. You can wind up paralyzed by your options. At the end of the day, the only real option is to pick a path and stick to it. That path may evolve, but you’ve got to have an underlying strategy that you’re willing to stick to. Changing tactics every other day just won’t get you where you need to go.

That means that you have to evaluate new information based on your current strategy as well. If it can help you move along the path you’ve already chosen, that’s great. But if a new post or webinar suggests that you need to switch directions entirely, you need to carefully consider what acting on it could mean for you. Most of the time, you can afford to file information away for later, to be reconsidered when you’ve reached the goals you’re reaching for. Occasionally, you may find a truly convincing reason to change tactics, but you can’t let it be a regular occurrence.

Reading Personal Finance Blogs

Keeping up with the latest and greatest blog posts is fun. But it’s important to set aside time to actually take action on everything you’ve read. It’s easy enough to find yourself in a position of information overload or paralysis, but if you’re taking in so much information that can help you grow, it’s hard to argue that you should sit back and be an armchair personal finance expert.

Personal finance information is valuable. It can make a world of difference in a life. But your time is valuable as well. Make sure that you’re getting full worth for the time you spend reading up on personal finance by putting that information into practice.

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  • Witty Artist says:

    No doubt there is so much information on personal finance on the web. One cannot read and implement everything. I think it’s important that we know our plan, strategies and goals and thus adapt the reading to our needs. We sort out the categories of information we need, and when we find something that suits us we implement it little by little.

  • Ryan says:

    I agree with Jim… there’s an absolutely overwhelming amount of information on the web about personal finance and it’s almost a harder to determine which advice not to take than to take. I think if one can block out the noise and develop a simple action plan based on the principles of personal finance they’ll be much better off than a person who tries to implement everything they read and changed things up every other week.

  • Jenna says:

    I think the best way to move forward when it comes to digesting information is to take small bites. Slowly implement changes in a manageable way and build momentum.

  • marci says:

    Bargaineering – just what I was going to say . One step at a time…. implement one little thing, see it in action, evaluate whether it is working for you or not… then try a 2nd step.

    I take notes on things that may or may not work…. but this stage in life, I am past a lot of the early strategies, but every once in awhile something comes along that may add to my basket of eggs – so I’ll note it and see if I can work it in.

    Times change – the world changes – so constant evaluation is a must. You must change with the times if the times are changing your financial situation.
    Best of luck – being debt fee is all worth it in the end.

  • KM says:

    I run into this problem with pretty much everything I read. I don’t implement most of it because I am either already doing it, it doesn’t apply to me, or I don’t agree with it. Once in a while, I will find something that I think is a good idea and I usually work it into my plans, but that’s quite rare.

  • Bargaineering says:

    I think it’s best to implement just one small piece at a time. A lot of the ideas out there are very far reaching and it’s hard to overhaul how you do something and stick with it. When you read something, just take one core idea with you and try to implement it. The small things will start to add up and before you know it you’ll have a more effective approach towards things.

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